MTPR

Roger Koopman

Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks is proposing to remove non-native smallmouth bass from Gallatin Valley ponds. The agency says the Midwestern fish could spread to other water bodies — including the blue-ribbon lower Madison River — and drastically reduce trout populations.

'Capitol Talk' is MTPR's weekly legislative analysis program.
Montana Public Radio

Bills to continue Medicaid expansion — and to buy more coal — have nothing in common, unless you want one, or both, to pass. That fight, and whether transparency is good or bad for legislating top our discussion tonight on Capitol Talk.

Tonight on Capitol Talk: The state's utility regulators endorse a bill that appears to weaken the their own regulatory oversight. The cost of Medicaid expansion — and a new revenue estimate — complicate the state budget outlook. The president of the Senate wants to be the top election official. And the mayor of Helena wants to run for governor or Congress, but he's not ready to say if he'll run as a Democrat or Republican.

Power plant at Colstrip, MT.
Beth Saboe / MontanaPBS

A rewritten Republican plan aimed at protecting the future of the coal-fired power plant in Colstrip is moving forward. But concerns remain about its potential impact on Montanans’ electric bills.

When the so-called Montana Energy Security Act of 2019 was first introduced it drew comparisons to the deregulation of the Montana Power Company in the late 1990s, which skyrocketed electric bills across the state.

NorthWestern Energy truck.
Sue Ginn / Montana Public Radio

A Montana environmental group is suing the state’s largest utility company and its public regulators. It says they violated a law aimed at developing small renewable energy projects.

The Montana Environmental Information Center claims Montana’s Public Service Commission illegally gave NorthWestern Energy a pass on buying enough energy from what are known as Community Renewable Energy Projects, or CREPs. 

Republican Candidate for Public Service Commission Roger Koopman
Montana PSC

Republican PSC Candidate Roger Koopman talks with MTPR Capitol Reporter Corin Cates-Carney.

Montana’s Public Service Commissioners have a lot of power. They regulate monopoly utility companies, meaning they have influence over people’s energy bills, as well as the environmental impact of Montana’s energy sources.

Solar panel installation.
Wayne National Forest (CC-BY-2)

Montana’s utility regulators took unprecedented action Thursday when they suspended price rates for solar energy. It's a win for NorthWestern Energy, but it could slow growth in Montana’s solar energy industry.

NorthWestern Energy Ordered To Refund Montana Customers $8.2M

Mar 29, 2016
NorthWestern Energy truck.
Sue Ginn / Montana Public Radio

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Montana regulators on Tuesday ordered NorthWestern Energy to refund customers $8.24 million that the state's largest power company charged when it had to buy electricity on the open market following a 2013 outage of the Colstrip coal plant.

Train near Essex, MT.
Flickr User Roy Luck (CC-BY-2.0)

A legislative audit released last year had Montana’s Public Service Commission examining today whether it should be responsible for railroad safety in the state.

Veteran Democratic lawmaker Pat Noonan has entered the race for a seat on the state’s currently all-Republican Public Service Commission, the board that oversees Montana’s utility and transportation companies.

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